<history of philosophy, contemporary philosophy, biography> American logician and philosopher (1940-). His early work, "A Completeness Theorem in Modal Logic" (1959) and "Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic (1963), focussed on technical issues in modal logic. In Naming and Necessity (1972) Kripke proposed a causal theory of referential meaning, on which proper names and natural kinds are not merely definite descriptions but rather rigid designators, whose reference must obtain in all possible worlds. On the basis of such semantics, Kripke holds that the necessary / contingent and a priori / a posteriori distinctions do not coincide. This raises significant doubts about theories that try to establish the contingent identity of mental events and brains states. Recommended Reading: Saul A. Kripke, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (Harvard, 1984); The New Theory of Reference - Kripke, Marcus, and Its Origins, ed. by Paul W. Humphreys and James H. Fetzer (Kluwer, 1999); and Consuelo Preti, On Kripke (Wadsworth, 2001).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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